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Profiling | Samira Boon

Samira Boon has got her fingers dipped in many pies. The Dutch designer-cum-lecturer-cum architect, who has lived and worked in Japan and is currently located in Seoul, draws a lot of her inspiration from the traditional crafts and techniques of other traditional tradesmen that she encounters on her travels, particularly in Asia. Her finished products, however, are frequently modern and minimalist in nature, and highlight how she is able to recreate and redefine common tried-and-tested methods to encapsulate completely different concepts and products.


ActuallyMAG sits down with Samira during her recent trip to Singapore and discuss her journey as a designer and future plans.


Tell us about a day in your life.

It depends on whether I’m going to work or if I have time to spend walking around the streets. What I love to do when I’m on a trip is to venture into places that I’m unfamiliar with, or not commonly visited by tourists, I find those spots the most interesting.


Describe your working process.

Well, I’m currently doing a lot of research on 3-Dimensional textiles. For that, I have to do a lot of reading, and I also spend time developing models.


How does studying architecture impact your designing process and designs?

I’m fascinated by the structural properties of materials, how a product is made. Technique is very important to me. I think architecture helped me to appreciate that and it has become a starting point in how I approach design in general.


What made you decide to become a designer?

It just kind of happened! I was granted a research scholarship by the Japanese government and started off with some products (masks with animal features printed on them) that were well received, and I just kept going.


You have spent a lot of time in Asia. What do you like about it?

There is a lot to discover. From my Dutch heritage, there is a huge cultural difference and it is interesting to see things from my point of view, where everything looks new and fresh to me. In Korea there are still many small workshops where you can find the smallest elements from which products are made, being assembled piece by piece. It’s very down to earth, authentic and simple.


What kind of design ideas have you been experimenting with recently?

I’m inspired by what I see around me in Korea, which is a lot of interactive media. I had some vague ideas in mind while I was in the Netherlands, but moving to Korea helped solidify those ideas so there will definitely be a design on the way.


Can you tell us more about your waffle sleeve designs?

They are part of my experimentation with 3D textiles, whereby products are made straight out of the machine, double layered, seamless. The finished products are less of just textiles but resemble objects.


What plans do you have for the future?

I’m currently doing a wide range of things. I design products, textiles, and collaborate with architects. I also conduct workshops for companies on how they can apply new techniques and ways to innovate their designs. There’s no one thing in particular that I am concentrating on but I think this mixture is nice to have.


– Yishu

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